Food safety urged for tailgate parties

Published 4:59 am Wednesday, January 31, 2007

By Staff
It's Super Bowl Sunday and you can feel the excitement in the air! Groups of folks will be gathered at popular spots to cheer their favorite teams on. There will be an eating frenzy with lots and lots of food. However, chips-and-dips menu calls for clean hands.
Finger foods, from popcorn to chips and dips, are traditional fare on Super Bowl Sunday. But with everybody scooping food from common bowls, it's an invitation for germs to join in.
Nancy Bock, Vice President of Education at The Soap and Detergent Association, offers some ideas for keeping those germs from scoring a touchdown.
During pre-game food preparation, wash hands with warm water and soap for twenty seconds before and after handling food.
Frequently clean and disinfect all surfaces used for preparing and serving food. Focus on countertops, sinks, appliances and door handles.
Be aware of and prevent cross-contamination as you prepare your favorite recipes.
Read and follow cleaning product labels to be sure they are used properly.
Use a clean utensil every time you sample or taste foods and do not return it to the dish.
At game time: Think individual servings. For example, instead of a common bowl, serve popcorn in lunch-size brown bags, white bags or oversized paper cups - just like you get it at the stadium.
Put napkins, utensils, bowls and plates in multiple locations, so they're always in easy reach of the guests.
Put tongs or tooth picks next to finger foods (i.e. chicken wings, chips, cube cheeses, fruit trays, meat balls, nachos, and veggie trays).
Keep plenty of hand sanitizers or wipes around so guests won't miss a winning play while they're out washing their hands and remember, no double dipping.
Here are some great reasons to eat chili or wholesome dishes on Super Bowl Sunday:
1. You can prepare it ahead of time so you don't have to miss a minute of the game.
2. You can eat it out of a bowl, making it highly convenient for tube-side noshing.
3. People can serve themselves (and maybe you, too), meaning you never have to get off the couch.
The only hard part is deciding what kind of chili to make from the countless variations of this all-American dish. To help you narrow down the playing field, here is one of my favorite recipes from the Auburn Cook Book ($10) that you can pick up from the Escambia County Agent's Office on Hwy 31 south behind Southern Pine Electric Cooperative or Central Farm Supply in Atmore (in cases you don't have a copy). It's called simply Chili. Oh yes, another tasty dish that you will enjoy eating, was shared with me by 4-H'er, Charmaine Bossie, from Madison County. She was the first place winner in the Beef Cook-Off. Her recipe is called Mighty Cocktail Meatballs. We hope your team wins; you enjoy the day and remember not to invite germs to the Big Game!
Vegetable cooking spray 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds lean ground round 2 15-ounce cans salt-free tomatoes
2 15-once cans salt-free red kidney beans
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 and one-half cups chopped onion
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 and one-half cups chopped green pepper
One-fourth tsp. salt
Three-fourths cup chopped celery
1 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
Coat the bottom of a large skillet or heavy saucepan with cooking spray. Heat it to medium or medium high. Crumble meat into skillet and cook until it is brown and crumbly, stirring as it cooks. Spoon meat into a strainer to drain excess fat. Return meat to skillet. Drain the beans through a strainer and rinse under tap water. Add beans and remaining ingredients to skillet. Stir until evenly mixed. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours until flavors have blended and mixture has reached the desired thickness. Stir to prevent sticking.
Hot Texas Chili
Follow the recipe for Chili and add the following ingredients when adding beans: one 4-ounce can diced green chili peppers, drained;1 teaspoon powder cumin; and 1/ 2 teaspoon red pepper.
Mighty Cocktail Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bottle of chili sauce
1 10-ounce jar of grape jelly
Mix ground beef with garlic powder. Shape into small balls. Pan-fry until well cooked, then drain. Mix chili sauce and grape jelly together. Add meatballs. Heat mixture. Serve warm in crock pot or electric skillet.

Email newsletter signup